Apple's response regarding Eloquence voices

Forum
iOS & iPadOS

To eloquence people

Hello all, as I said in <a href="http://www.applevis.com/forum/ios-ios-app-discussion/writing-apple-conc… post</a>, I would be writing to apple about eloquence, here is the email I wrote.

"Hello

I have been using IPhone 4s with voice over. While I do enjoy many voices such as Samantha, Daniel and the siri male voice in IOS 9.1, I was a bit surprised that a specific TTS voice, namely Eloquence, is not included, particularly it was very popular with many of us blind users. Now, I do think that there is a reason why Eloquence is not being included in voice over. But many users, including me, seem to want this voice. Some of the reasons are it's very responsive and it has great pronunciations of words. If it is possible, can you explain the reasons why Eloquence can't be added in voice over? I think this will help people desiring the Eloquence voice aware of the reasons why it is not included.

Thanks for your response and your work in making IOS accessible to us."

Surprisingly I got a response just today. I felt very happy about it because at last we are done with speculations and will actually find out about the reasons why eloquence is not added. Sadly that's not what I received. Here's the response.

"Hello,
 Thank you for your email. This is proprietary information that won't be shared.
Thank you for your understanding."

I'm totally confused. proprietary? I'm not sure what this mean? Is there a problem with how I written my email? Why do I get this weird response? Did I do something wrong?

Regardless of all that, does this mean we will never get eloquence from voice over?

Options

Comments

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Friday, December 4, 2015

Well, this is just a guess, but it sounds like they're saying that they have no intentions of sharing their reasons. Personally, I don't see what harm it would be to give us the reasons why. Strange response. Although as I have said before, I don't think we'll see Eloquence on the Apple platform any time soon if at all, it makes no sense why they wouldn't clarify your question.

Submitted by Apple Khmer on Friday, December 4, 2015

They never will ad Eloquence to their lineup. It doesn't matter what sentiment you give them.

Submitted by Paul Martin on Saturday, December 5, 2015

By the subject line I mean the speculation. The email you mentioned is quite cut and dry to me: They're not sharing info yet, the best response from a company with a few secrets up it's sleep other than a canned reply. In short, it's best not to assume either way.
Remember what happened when alex came. Many were wondering why the voice was not available on the 5S, myself included. The main problem of the memory was fixed, so why not now? It turned out the 32-bit processors just couldn't cut the voice mustard as it were, and there were a few more things to work out before it made its way with iOS7.. I'm not a developer or anything, but it's quite possible Eloquence could be having an issue like that with all the frameworks for speech or something not being able to work right with it. Remember on the Windows side how many buggy things were going round of that voice for NVDA?
Again, all I'm getting from that tiny bit of text Apple sent out is there not saying a peep. remember, not confirming; not denying.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Saturday, December 5, 2015

Agreed, and since they company who makes elequance are no longer supporting it, they will never add it. I'm waiting fore the day for that v voice to die never come back.

Submitted by Igna Triay on Saturday, December 5, 2015

Personally, I am satisfied with the voiceover voices. It is true, that eloquence voice will never be added, and what? We still have lots of other voices to choose from.

Submitted by morbidCode on Saturday, December 5, 2015

Since apple had made it prety clear in their strange response to me that eloquence will never be added, I am now reasonably confident to jale break my phone. I hope I will not have any regrets in the future.

Submitted by Eric Davis on Saturday, December 5, 2015

When we think of a voice to add: We have to keep in mind that Apple has to think of all the people who are using the devices they produce. This includes people who have been using speech for many years and those who may never have used it at all. This makes it more understandable why Apple wants to make the voices more human sounding. I like all the offerings that are available to us. I may just use Alex, but I can appreciate all of the others.

In their e-mail to you, all Apple said is that their reasoning for not including Eloquence in iOS was proprietary (that is, private) information that wouldn't be shared. Reading your e-mail to Apple, my interpretation is that you never actually asked them would they consider including Eloquence...all you asked was could they share their reasons it wasn't included. Those are two different statements, and to say that Apple has said they won't ever add Eloquence is, in my opinion, inaccurate.

Apple's culture and marketing strategy is also worth considering here. Apple places an incredibly high emphasis on secrecy; e-mail Apple Accessibility about what new features are coming in iOS 10 and the next version of OS X, and they'll tell you that that information is proprietary and won't be shared. That's just the way Apple is. It doesn't mean they're not working on new and exciting features...they're just very tight-lipped about it until everything is ready for prime time.

Submitted by Kyle on Saturday, December 5, 2015

the only voices i am aware that you can get are other vocalizer voices via a jail brake. however, i'm not sure that that works anymore either because it was back in like ios 7 when i did it. plus the thread i posted here got deleted because applevis said they didn't like the way that you had to do it and said it wasn't legal so they removed it. which by the way, there isn't any legal issues with it.

Submitted by AnonyMouse on Saturday, December 5, 2015

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hello Kyle,

First, yes to answer to the question that was ask earlier if one jailbreak their device is it possible to use a different voice.

Second, the reason we will remove things like that post is because in most cases using voices from other sources are typically illegal. So if you have something we don't know about. Please do share it with us. In this case using eloquence in a jail broken environment is indeed illegal. We do have many post like this in the past and we have not seen anyone come forward to prove or show that a certain voice is indeed legal.

HTH

Submitted by Pilgrim Pete on Saturday, December 5, 2015

Moving discussion back to Apple’s reply, I would suggest that you got the answer that you did because you asked about them using something which they don’t own or currently appear to have any rights to use (hence their use of the word ‘proprietary’). So, in addition to the technical/practical issues involved here, there are commercially sensitive and legal considerations which make it impossible for them to give you the clear and definitive answer that you want.

Submitted by Amirudin abdullah on Tuesday, September 6, 2016

maybe apple plan to include eloquence in its next major ios release?

Submitted by Joseph on Tuesday, September 6, 2016

I doubt it. I'm a beta tester and haven't seen anything of it in anything i've looked at or seen others cover.

Submitted by Amirudin abdullah on Tuesday, September 6, 2016

sorry if this is not allowed, but that one isn't from nuance and its robotic. maybe this is the beginning of the inclusion? sorry if this is not allowed to be discussed here. thanks.

Submitted by Igna Triay on Tuesday, September 6, 2016

I don't think that eloquence is included in iOS 10. I am a beta tester, and though there are lots of new voices, eloquence isn't one of them.

Submitted by charles on Tuesday, September 6, 2016

My thought is my subject line. As a beta tester of iOS 10, I can let you know that Elloquence is not included. In my personal opinion, I very much prefer Alex, anyway. More human sounding and, for the most good pronunciation. In iOS 10, there is a pronunciation dictionary for the voices so that, hopefully, words such as "tornado" will be able to be pronounced correctly by the voice of your choice. In my personal opinion, Elloquence is not needed on my iPhone..

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Tuesday, September 6, 2016

@Charles is right. Apple does not own the rights to the Eloquence speech, and since they have so many other voices in their portfolio, there is little to no chance that you will see Eloquence on the iPhone anytime soon.

Submitted by Joseph on Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Exactly. Kinda hard to put something you don't own the rights to on something you own without facing retribution, no?

Submitted by Justin on Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Also, eloquence is way out of date. They haven't updated it in probably 10-15 years or so. The only reason we have it in windows is freedom scientific etc keeps licensing it. I personally want eloquence to go away. I've used other TTS for years since switching to mac and haven't regretted it since. If you want something that is robotic, then just use fred, ralph, etc; the old mac voices and set the intonation down to a lower value than 50%.

Submitted by Igna Triay on Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Well said, I like a lot the TTS voices on iPhone and mac; not that I don't like elequence... But I prefer the voices on mac and iPhone

Submitted by JeffB on Tuesday, September 6, 2016

I don't think we need Eloquence the other voices seem to work fine. Why they are adding Fred I have no idea as he does not sound good at all. Some more Irish and Scottish voices would have been nice though they don't have any Scottish voices for what ever reason.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Tuesday, September 6, 2016

I think Fred is being added for sentimental purposes. I am just glad that Bruce wasn't an option. Hah.

Submitted by Ekaj on Tuesday, September 6, 2016

I, too, am satisfied with the current voices we Mac users have to choose from and I like the fact that we can adjust them individually and so forth. As much as I liked Eloquence when I used it, I totally understand where Apple is coming from. I for one am totally looking forward to Siri on the Mac, and am curious as to how that'll work with VoiceOver. But only time will tell. Like I've previously mentioned on here I am very pleased with what Apple has done thus far with the Mac. As for i-devices, I cannot say because I don't own one.

Submitted by Igna Triay on Tuesday, September 6, 2016

I'm very glad to know that Tom is one of the new voices on ios10; I really like that voice.

Submitted by appleuser on Wednesday, September 7, 2016

hello all. I want to say that I am not surprised by their response. personally, I don't like the eloquence voice, because it sounds very robotic to me. I use Samantha since the first day I got an iPhone and I will continue using it. I am also not surprised that apple don't want to share the reasons. they are really a secretive company and I am not surprised. maybe someday they will come with an official statement about that.

Submitted by Apple Khmer on Wednesday, September 7, 2016

They will never add Eloquence. It's outdated, no longer maintaied, Apple doesn't have any rights to it, it is not compatible with any of Apple's specs, and so forth.

Submitted by Seva on Thursday, September 8, 2016

Hi all. Can someone please record a demo of fred and broos voices? And why do you think that they are bad? And i hate eloquence! It's better to have espeak instead of eloquence.

Submitted by Pekingese on Tuesday, September 13, 2016

You shouldn't jailbreak your device, because it is illegal. Also, even the IOS 10 voices don't sound human. I agree that apple probably won't add eloquence,, but I hope they make their voices better. Lastly, in my opinion, I think that the Samantha voice default and the Siri voice it sounds the most human.

Submitted by Jake on Tuesday, September 13, 2016

In reply to by Pekingese

I agree, you shouldn't jailbreak your device. However, at least in the US, it is in fact legal. An exemption to the DMCA was upheld for jailbreaking your own devices. Exemptions have to go up for review every three years though, so we'll see how that goes either this year or next. The reason you shouldn't jailbreak is stability and security. Jailbroken devices crash more often even if you don't install anything extra, and you are then no longer able to receive security updates without losing your jailbreak. On top of that, you've no idea what that supposedly free version of a paid app actually does until you install it. It's a lose/lose situation. Don't do it, especially not to get a crappy tts voice that has zero chance of a future!

Submitted by techluver on Tuesday, September 13, 2016

I love alex. Enough said.
Although, I do wonder why they don't add the Fiona voice for Scottish and whats her name for indian english, as well as basque, catalan, and Galician. especially since they have a catalan language option, why wouldn't they add a voice for it I wonder. I know that vocalizer has those voices, so rights shouldn't be a big issue.

Submitted by themusicman08 on Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ok. After reading this thread, I think the subject says it all. I honestly wish that Alex was put in to the IPod touch fifth units but, it's not. So I either have used Samantha, or the male version for Siri. Eloquence has been around for years but, that's not going to happen at all being put into the Apple devices. That's like asking for DecTalk to be put in there. Just not going to happen. Their are voices I would love to have in my IPod but, it ain't happenin'. I've learned to except that. Even if I got a new IPod touch. Even if I got an IPod sixth gen unit, the voices won't improve. I would love Alex but, it's not happening. Just not happening at all.
Bottom line?
Be happy with what is out in the devices and don't turn something portable into a big giant computer.

Submitted by DrummerGuy on Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Personally, I'd rather have the voices we already have. The more natural, less robotic, better. Most of the eloquence voices sound like somebody is talking while clenching there teeth. I think that Alex, Tom, Samantha, Siri, Daniel, Karen and all the other voices do a much better job than the eloquence voices. In fact, I wish there were more voices like Alex. I know that the Alex voice it's really a big file to download but, personally, I would not mind downloading a few more in different languages. In my case, I would like a few more voices just like Alex in Spanish and English. This is only my opinion.
Have a great day.

Submitted by Toonhead on Thursday, May 25, 2017

I'm glad this issue has finally been put to rest. I know a lot of people want eloquence on their phones. If you really, really want eloquence, go with android. I'm seriously not kidding, it is very much available for the Android platform. So, if your goal is to have Elloquence on your device, that's the way to go.

Submitted by Shawn T on Thursday, May 25, 2017

Fred is a good voice to use because he is first of all, very quiet. Second of all, it is annoying enough to those who don't use synthesized speech that they ignore it entirely. Alex and the rest are easily understood even by folks who don't use this stuff much, especially because they're in lots of GPS units and such. While natural may be more pleasant to listen to, rapid comprehention and predictability can be more important for heavy speech users. The fact that Fred is so quiet makes him the best choice to use while on a call.

Submitted by Toonhead on Thursday, May 25, 2017

Interesting thought, but i'm one of the very few blind people who can not understand speech at a rapid rate. I've never seen any reason to crank speech up to the fastest possible rate but that's a very subjective thing. I know i'm very different but that's ok. I enjoy being different than the normal person.

Submitted by David Standen on Thursday, May 25, 2017

I agree with what others have said regarding Eloquence voices. There isn't a need for them and besides, we already have a wide range of voices to choose from in both IOS and Mac. I personally have been using Lee on my Mac since he became available in Lion, and I was very happy when he became available for IOS 10.

Submitted by Fred on Thursday, May 25, 2017

Eloquence needs to go the way of the Ringling Brothers Circus. Send him/her to the legacy farm.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Thursday, May 25, 2017

@Toonhead you hit the nail on the head with your reasoning. I, too, don't feel like the faster the voice, the better it is. Heh, every time I think this topic has finally been laid to rest it comes back, sort of like Freddy Krueger in all those Elm Street movies. [smile]

Submitted by Justin on Thursday, May 25, 2017

Hi,
Agree with toonhead and SockHopsinger on this. I, as well, don't like voices cranked up to the max. People say, oh you can read faster blah, blah, blah. I don't care.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Thursday, May 25, 2017

While I love eloquence in my PC with NVDA and jaws. Why do we need to add more voices. I think we have enough voices. I think we need to focus on making sure the voices we have are more reliableand that they work well. Less focus more on making sure apple fixes bugs.

Submitted by Jeff on Thursday, May 25, 2017

For me, it's not that Eloquence can be cranked up to high speed reading, (like Toonhead, I don't do that). For me, Eloquence came closer to mimicking natural speech than any synth at the time. It still does that compared to many popular synths, such as Samantha.

It pronounces more words correctly "out of the box" and even recognizes context and more often pronounces words like "read" correctly. When reading something like an article or story, It does a better job of inflection and putting pauses in the correct places and for the correct duration. Basically, it sounds more like the *way* a person would read the text, not that the voice sounds more human, but that the pacing and pronunciation is more natural. Also, for a long time, Eloquence was the only synth that had a user-accessible pronunciation dictionary, so any mispronunciations could be corrected.

I'm ok with not having Eloquence on my iPhone, but I do think more effort should be put into making synths sound more natural. Alexa on the Amazon Echo seems to be doing this, although she has no pronunciation dictionary accessible to the user and I've not listened to a lot of books or articles on my Echo, so perhaps it's not a fair comparison.

For the record, Eloquence reads this post correctly and naturally from beginning to end. Does the synth you're using do that?

Submitted by themusicman08 on Thursday, May 25, 2017

As I was saying in the last post I had written, i think we should be happy with what's there to use. I use Dectalk and that's older then Eloquence. But, I switch if i want Eloquence too. So, I have a choice. But, I am happy with what I have and wat I can use. Do I wish ALex were available? Yes. Is it? No.

Submitted by Kerby on Thursday, May 25, 2017

By the way, Alex is now available for the iPod 6th generation.

Submitted by Wayne Scott Jr on Thursday, May 25, 2017

As a deaf-blind individual, I find the current Voiceover voices just fine. I either use Tom, Karen, or Siri female. To me, Eloquence is too robotic and way out of date. I have listened to Eloquence on m my hearing aids, and I don't like it. Even for Jaws, I am using Tom and Karen. On both, Jaws and VoiceOver, sometimes I use Allison. So, I am glad Apple isn't adding an out of date synthesizer.

Submitted by Brian Giles on Friday, May 26, 2017

Speech is a very subjective thing. I would pay to have eloquence on my phone since it's the synth I'm most used to. It also wouldn't take up nearly as much space and is very responsive. As others have said, it also seems to do a better job with inflection with certain punctuation. Of course people just starting to use screen readers would find it robotic and others share that view, but I love it. I think e speak is the worst synth ever, but some people love it.

I agree with Brian. I'd definitely pay to have eloquence on my phone. On my PC (which hardly gets a look in these days) I use Eloquence for everything. I find it better than other voices for reading because the very fact that it sounds a bit robotic allows me to do the imagining and interpreting of whatever I'm reading. Other voices get in the way for me. Reading a StarTrek novel on my iPhone in VoiceDream Reader is a challenge: lots of unusual, hard to pronounce place names and terms. I grin and bare it because of the convenience factor, and because "i know "i am lucky to be able to read anywhere I want. "but "i don't get as deeply into a story or long article nearly as well with an iPhone voice as I do with Eloquence. I've been using speech for twenty years, which might explain why I think this way. This idea of having Eloquence on iDevices will never die, so we may as well just chalk it up to obstinacy and add it to the list of immortal topics like the "which screenreader is best?" topic. Long, but helpful, I hope. Sorry for the length. Hope this makes sense.

Submitted by Ishkabibble on Sunday, January 20, 2019

Hi,

Though Eloquence is a nice option to have around on iOS devices, I don’t see any reason why it should be added. In terms of speed, I use Alex on my iPad and iPhone at 100 percent, and it still has relatively clear pronunciation. Even the Vocalizer expressive voices, (which I don’t use on my iDevices but do use on my windows machine), do fine, though their inflection is a little too exaggerated for me (ehem, Ava.) anyway, I think most people, myself included, kind of want Eloquence for the nostalgia factor. When I started learning JAWs for Windows in 2nd grade or so, Eloquence was the only synth I could use. SAme with the old Humanware Braille notetakers; I have very fond memories with those voices :)

But back to the discussion at hand, I feel that Apple doesn’t want to add Eloquence to their voice options because it is out of date, and would take money to license. (Not that that’s a big issue for Apple, but still, it’s money that could easily be used to develop more natural and up-to-date voices that utilize machine learning, such as the English female Siri voice in iOS 12.)

Anyway, that’s all I can think of right now.

Sincerely,
Maddy

Submitted by techluver on Sunday, January 20, 2019

Hello,
I have at least found a way to read books with eloquence on IOS. You will need:
1. the eloquence sapi5 synthesizer from code factory
2. a program called text aloud (www.nextup.com)
3. voice dream reader
Use text aloud to convert the books. This creates mp3 files of eloquence reading. Then slap them into voice dream and you're good to go!